Viewer Discretion Required: The Reality of ‘New’ media

Importance of Viewer Discretion to cope up with prevailing media bias

You switch on the news channel and see a person shouting at the highest of his lungs trying his best to make you think that the establishment is ‘always’ right. You flip the channel and are welcomed by a man who barely resembles Imran Khan, mimicking the Pakistani PM. Yet one more channel flip and comes a person on your TV screen, taking sarcastic digs at the screaming anchor while propagating his agenda.

News media in today’s context holds a particularly complex place. While there is no denying that in a democratic country, journalism and news act as power balancers and checkers. The commercialisation of news that has come up to be the truth as a consequence of competition and TRP races, has caused sensationalisation of stories. So something like PM visiting his mother is given more coverage than a crucial subject. Not just this but the increasing competition has also led to journalism counting on political parties for funds, thus biased news presentation.

Social Media: The New News Source
Social Media: The New News Source

For a short time, social media sites were considered the perfect successor. Since social media didn’t believe TRP’s, it had been assumed that bias wouldn’t seep in there. But social media comes with its perils. In some other context, the ‘personalised content’ trait of Social Media would be appreciated but within the context of stories, personalised content causes you to sleep in a bubble. You’ll be shown the content, you engage the foremost with. So if you follow leftist accounts, your opinion will progress from what’s shown as facts on those accounts. Which entirely kills the motive of stories within the first place. News should only present events as they’re happening. What to form of it should dwell in the hands of the audience, which, unfortunately, isn’t the case, right now. Social Media has also caused a faster spread of lies. Independent journalism, that became a fad with youngsters like Dhruv Rathee and Pratik Sinha could have brought change but even then the importance of viewer discretion can’t be neglected.

Need of the hour is that the ‘spectator’ becomes the ‘questioner’.

Ravish Kumar, Journalist, NDTV

The circumstances that we live in mandates every citizen to actively pursue true news. To become what they call, “active citizens”. To understand everything about everything and keep an open mind with well-formed opinions. As a citizen of a democratic country like India, it’s our responsibility to not just receive news but actively engage with it. We can not stop watching the news altogether since it’s only when we hear differing opinions that we get to introspect and see if we truly believe in what we are saying. The trick is to seek out a balance between the consumption of news and it’s analysis.

10 ways to promote anti-racism at workplace.

  • Have a diverse group of employees who are so passionate about their work that they don’t have time for all this non-sense. Also create an environment where people don’t target each other. While calling people for interviews at your firm do run a background check at them and make sure to know about their behavior and their views and ideas on the topics which are in trend, by this we can look how the person feels and would express himself. This will bring out his natural character.
  • If you’re in a leadership position in your organization, don’t wait for a mentoring program. Find a young person of color in your organization that is doing great things and take them under your wing. Even better – encourage your peers in senior ranks to do the same. We all know the critical importance of access to power. Break that vicious cycle by providing that valuable access to some who may never otherwise have it.
  • It’s 2020. Barring a few extreme anomalies, there’s simply no reason for companies of any significant size to not be diverse. Period. One of the most soul stripping feelings knows that you’re working in an environment that isn’t consistent with your values so if you value racial justice and human rights and know that your company does not, leave.
  • Changing your behaviours and actions starts with changing your thoughts. Challenge yourself to identify your own deeply embedded stereotypes or bigoted thoughts. Did your parents make disparaging remarks about people of color while you were growing up which may have caused you to think of black people as lazy or not as smart. If you haven’t had direct experiences in college or graduate school (for example) to challenge that thinking, you may subtly maintain those stereotypes. While I’m thrilled to see that MIT has elected its first black female student body president ever (159 years), I can’t help but shake my head at the thought that it took that long.
  • Micro aggression’s and inequities are pervasive in the workplace, and it’s so important for white people to speak up when they happen. The simple truth is that most corporations do have a bit of a corporate caste system, and when those in positions of power stay silent, little changes.  So when you see something, say something. 
  • Fear is often the root of bigotry and one of the best antidotes for erasing fear is knowledge and familiarity. The saying is Know Me – Like Me – Trust Me, and that trust building process starts with simply knowing people better. It’s so much easier to fall victim to bigoted thinking and stereotypes when you don’t personally know people from that community and are completely ignorant of their culture, so get to know more people of color. For as much as we like to pat ourselves on the back for supporting “diversity in the workplace,” our society continues to be remarkably segregated.
  • If you have a relationship with a colleague in whom it feels appropriate to ask them about their experiences at work, ask them. The majority of the time, the minority is less likely to speak up about racial incidents at work for fear of being let go. Ask colleagues about their experiences at work and outside of work. Not only will it help you to realize that racism is a very real issue, it will also give you the opportunity to be an ally and speak up for that colleague if they have been having a negative experience.
  • It’s time to audit our outlook. There is always work to be done in the white mental schema, whether you think it or not. Take a look at your own conscious or unconscious biases. Think about times when you could have done better. Keep track of what happening around you can commits to holding yourself accountable for creating a better anti-racist workplace.
  • If your boss thinks less of you for asking the important questions, you probably need a new boss. Ask your higher-ups what they’re doing to promote equality and inclusivity across the team. Ask them about pay, ask them about diversity workshops, and ask them if the company cares.The more people who put pressure on now, the better for everyone. By staying quiet, you are supporting white supremacy.
  • For most the important things upgrade your thoughts and beliefs. Its 2020 we are living in an open world with all sorts of people around us. We have to take care of each other and must support each one of us because humanity is all that matters.

-KARTIK SINGH NEGI